Skip to main content

Full text of "My country and my people"

See other formats

SOCIAL    AND    POLITICAL    LIFE             IQ9
rendering. He says: "You can expect generally about ten honest men in a country (which is a pretty good average). But there are, on the other hand, probably a hundred offices. As a result, you have more official positions than honest men to fill them, so that you have ten honest men and ninety crooks to fill all of the positions. Hence there will be more likelihood of a general misrule rather than a good government. Therefore, the wise king believes in a system and not in personal talents, in a method and not in personal honesty." Hanfeitse denied that a "parental government" would ever work, because, he pointed out, even parents do not always succeed in governing their children, and it would be unreasonable to expect rulers to love the people more than parents love their children. Hanfeitse coldly and humorously asked how many disciples Confucius got with all his tremendous benevolence and righteousness, and was not the fact that even Confucius could obtain only seventy disciples among hundreds and thousands of people a clear proof of the futility of virtue? Was it not unreasonable to expect all rulers to walk in virtue like Confucius and all their subjects to love virtue like his seventy disciples? There is a kind of pleasing cynicism, dry humour, and sound sense in those words.
Hanfeitse's description of the ills of his country agrees to a fault with those of present-day China. So similar was the character of the officials and people of those days that, in reading him, we might easily forget that he was not depicting modern China. He traced the corruption of the officials and the apathy of the people of his day to the lack of legal protection, to the fault of the system. Instead of moralizing about it, he preached that it was the system of government and the lack of public legal protection that was at fault. He said all troubles lay in the lack of a "public or just law.9* He hated the Con-fucianists of his day and called them a pack of gabbling fools, which might be fittingly applied to so many of our "long-gown patriots" to-day. He said of the officials of that time that they were encouraged in their corruption because there was *no punishment for them. He said in these very words: "Although their national territory is sacrificed, their families have got rich. If they succeed, they will be powerful, and if they fail,